Patchogue residents have mixed views on proposed riverfront hotel


Patchogue residents packed into Village Hall Monday evening to weigh in on a measure related to the five-story Hilton hotel proposed for 138 West Avenue.

The Village Board held a public hearing regarding a change of zone from E-Industrial District to Hotel District for a parcel located at the southwest corner of West Avenue and Division Street, where developers operating under the name West Avenue Partners, LLC hope to build a Tempo by Hilton hotel. After holding a public hearing on this matter in February, the Planning Board recommended the Village Board enact this change of zone.

Plans for the hotel call for 56 king rooms, 50 double queens, 10 hotel suites, and 14 two-bedroom and two one-bedroom apartments, large event spaces, a spacious gym, and a rooftop restaurant and bar featuring a 3,000-square-foot outdoor seating area open to the public. The site’s beloved, shuttered bowling alley, Bowl Long Island, which the Eggert family closed permanently in November 2021, would be razed.

‘Inappropriate for a residential area’

Jessica Nelson poses questions to the applicant’s representatives Monday evening. (Credit: Nicholas Grasso)

Many who opposed the project cited traffic and insufficient parking as their highest concerns. The hotel must have 118 parking stalls on site. Current plans call for 119, which many residents deem insufficient.

James Manicone of Farmingville-based JM2 Architecture said the developers estimate that approximately 30% of hotel guests will arrive at the hotel via train. He also added that discussions are underway with the Watch Hill Ferry Terminal to possibly handle excess parking.

However, property owners, including those on Amity Street, just a few hundred feet from the proposed hotel, worry overflow parking will spill onto their street, among other concerns.

“My home on Amity Street was built in 1900 and stands alongside homes of traditional architecture from that time in a residential neighborhood that is not a commercial corridor or an extension of Main Street, but rather a distinct community,” Jessica Nelson, a resident of Amity Street, said. “The proposed change to hotel zoning at 138 West Avenue threatens to disrupt the very fabric of our community and [the proposed hotel] is frankly a monstrosity, as its planned elevation will be almost double the height of the [Bailey Lumber Mills] that it’s inspired by. It is not only inappropriate for a residential area but will stand as an imposing structure that will disrupt the visual harmony and historical integrity of its surroundings.”

Since the applicant’s team last met with the public back in February, Manicone said designs for the facades have changed, most noticeably the incorporation of brick and colors “more in keeping with that of other buildings in the community.” 

Photo: The original rendering (left) and the new design now proposed (right). (Credit: JM2 Architecture)

Winds of change

Village Attorney Brian Egan. (Credit: Nicholas Grasso)

While they understand that the defunct bowling alley on the project’s site must be bulldozed, some residents wish a similar community hub would rise from the rubble instead of a modern hotel.

“I’m sure so many people in this room enjoyed that bowling alley; it was a part of our community, something we could all share together,” resident Joseph Seeman said at the podium. “We’re losing a piece of our community and being sold back expensive cocktails and expensive dinners at rooftop restaurants that we probably can’t afford to go to.”

Some residents expressed support for the project while posing questions, such as those concerned for the wellbeing of the Patchogue River. Village Attorney Brian Egan told residents that the developers have already completed a Full Environmental Assessment Form and would be required to submit a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan during the construction process to ensure no pollutants taint the Patchogue River.

Rob Mannino, a partner at Hauppauge-based Kulka LLC, one of the various owners behind The Grove complex slated for 400 E. Main Street in East Patchogue, aired support for the project. He expressed empathy for those afraid of change, but painted it as necessary for growth.

“This town has experienced one of the most successful revitalizations in Long Island history,” Mannino said. “That was possible because of the careful management of responsible change … This type of development will attract young professionals and younger generations who welcome this kind of change. I think it’s a natural progression for this town, and as stated earlier, Patchogue has been owed a hotel for years.”

Cheers and jeers

As Nelson and other speakers aired discontent with the change of zone to allow a hotel, some audience members seated at the back of Village Hall hooted and hollered. But as Mannino addressed the Village Trustees and returned to his seat, those same audience members changed their tune; their applause gave way to loud booing. David Kennedy, the executive director of the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, then took to the podium to address the decorum.

“Personally, I believe this hotel would be a wonderful addition to this community,” Kennedy said. “That is my opinion, which I am allowed to have. There have been plenty of people who spoke very respectfully up there … but bullying people that get up to speak that have a difference of opinion, and yelling and shouting down people who don’t think like you do, is wrong. There should be no time for dialogue like that.”

Only the beginning

Following the discussion, the Village Board closed the public hearing Monday evening. Before the trustees may cast a vote on the change of zone, the Suffolk County Planning Commission must vote on the same matter. Regardless of how the county votes, the village can overrule with a majority-plus-one vote. If the trustees green light the zone change, the developers may proceed with an application process that would include traffic studies, site plan approvals, public hearings and potential alterations to current plans.

“The Village of Patchogue has made great strides over the last 20 years,” Manicone said immediately following Monday’s public hearing. “This hotel project is their next great stride.”

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